Straight Outta LA: Ports Set to Reach Zero-Emissions by 2035

Straight Outta LA: Ports Set to Reach Zero-Emissions by 2035

Sustainability has been at the forefront of the news the last couple months with attention being brought to pollution within different industries, China’s new dedication to the environment and more. Another new step has been brought to us straight outta the LBC; and also LA.

Long Beach and Los Angeles are the home of the two largest ports in the U.S. Together they are responsible for two-thirds of all ocean cargo on the western U.S, and more than one-third of the cargo volume in the entire United States. This is why when the twin ports announced they were taking extreme measures to cut air pollution it was it made waves in the headlines.

Someone’s Got a Plan

So how exactly does the city of Los Angeles plan to reach zero-emissions by 2035? The answer of course has many facets. The concern is figuring out who will take the brunt of the responsibility. Will it be the taxpayers who take the brunt monetarily? Or truck drivers? Or the ports? Long Beach Harbor Commission president Lou Anne Bynum stated that, “Collaboration will be critical to our success. Moving the needle to zero requires all of us—the ports, industry, regulatory agencies, environmental groups and our communities—to pool our energy, expertise and resources.”

Sourcing Journal reported the breakdown of the plan as follows:

First– The Clean Trucks Program will charge fees on trucks entering port terminals in effort to eliminate the use of the highest-polluting diesel trucks. This is in hopes to encourage the switch to natural gas, electric and other zero-emissions models.

Second-By 2020 port operators will begin utilizing zero-emission cargo-handling equipment. It will be in full effect by 2030, significantly reducing pollution from docked ships.

Third-They will expand the use of on-dock rail. Eventually this will reach the goal of moving 50 percent of all cargo by rail.

Causes and Concerns

Besides the drive to create a more sustainable approach to such a polluting shipping industry, there are other factors that came into play to push this unanimous decision through. For starters, the diesel-heavy ports actually are struggling to meet federal standards. Due to this, the areas surrounding the harbors are home to many citizens and port workers who are suffering from conditions ranging from asthma to lung cancer. On the other side, some are worried about whether this will cause exporters to choose other U.S ports with less regulation such as the newly expanded Panama Canal.

After two years of dialogue and strategizing, The Clean Air Plan has passed. While many are celebrating, some still have questions. People are wondering if will it start a positive impact in which other ports will follow suit? If that is the case, then this can create reduction of emissions on not just a local scale, but on a mass one. If not, it be more favorable for other ports in the U.S. But, with the impact on the environment and local inhabitants unable to be ignored (and the pots proximity to Asia) leaders are confident this is a move in the right direction.


Author:  Christine Duff

Christine wants to live in a world filled with cutting edge fashion, beautiful words and and an endless supply of leather jackets and boots. A product development grad of FIDM, she was the Editor-in-Chief of MODE Magazine where she reignited her love of storytelling. She has diverse experience within the industry with trend research, art direction and styling editorial spreads. She gained her most notable experience working in Los Angeles at the satellite operation for GQ and Vogue Thailand. Christine is passionate about social science and the role it plays in the consumer goods industry and apparel in particular.

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